Public Prosecutor v Chong Mun Moi

JudgeLuke Tan
Judgment Date05 October 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] SGDC 268
Citation[2016] SGDC 268
Docket NumberDAC No 904274-2014 & Ors
Published date07 October 2016
Hearing Date16 September 2015,29 August 2016,14 July 2016,05 October 2015,24 February 2016,06 October 2015,09 February 2015,18 September 2015,20 May 2015,12 August 2016,15 September 2015,17 September 2015,26 February 2016,21 May 2015,01 March 2016,08 October 2015,10 February 2015,07 October 2015,14 April 2016,16 March 2016,18 May 2015,15 March 2016,29 February 2016,19 May 2015,25 February 2016
Plaintiff CounselHouston Johannus, Lee Pei Rong Rachel, and Teo Lu Jia
Defendant CounselDaniel Atticus Xu
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
District Judge Luke Tan: Introduction

Four accused persons were prosecuted in connection with this case. They are Madam Chong Mun Moi (B1 Chong), Mr Lam Kwek Fah (B2 Lam), Mr Sia Jin Tee (B3 Sia) and Mr Lim Kim Siew (B4 Lim). B1 Chong is a 63-year-old female, while B2 Lam, B3 Sia, and B4 Lim are all males aged 63 yrs, 58 yrs and 55 years old respectively.

Before me, with the consent of their respective counsel, the Prosecution proceeded on the following charges against the accused persons. B1 Chong One charge under section 146(1) of the Women’s Charter (“the Act”) in that sometime between early-June 2013 to mid-June 2013, in Singapore, she did knowingly live in part on the earnings of the prostitution of one PW4 (DAC 904274/2014); One charge under section 140(1)(c) of the Act in that on or about 4th June 2013, at No. 28B Keong Saik Road, Singapore, she did procure one PW4 by threat to have carnal connection except by way of marriage with a male person within Singapore (DAC 904277/2014); One charge under section 140(1)(d) of the Act in that sometime between early-June 2013 to mid-June 2013, at No. 28B Keong Saik Road, Singapore, she did harbour one PW4, knowing that she had been procured for the purpose of prostitution within Singapore, and with intent to aid such purpose (DAC 904280/2014); and One charge under section 147(2) of the Act in that between early-June 2013 to mid-June 2013, at Zou Entertainment, located at No. 28 Keong Saik Road, Singapore, a place of public resort, she did manage the aforesaid public resort which was used as a place of assignation, (DAC 904283/2014).

As for B2 Lam, B3 Sia, and B4 Lim, they all faced similar charges under section 147(2) of the Act in that they each, sometime between early-June 2013 to mid-June 2013, at Zou Entertainment, a place of public resort, did assist B1 Chong to manage the aforesaid public resort which was used as a place of assignation. For the bulk of the trial, Mr Atticus Xu (“Mr Xu”) represented B1 Chong, while Mr Edmond Wong (“Mr Wong”) represented the remaining three accused persons.

At the end of the hearing, I was satisfied that the offences alleged against the four accused persons had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and I convicted them accordingly. Thereafter, having heard from the Prosecution and counsel, I sentenced B1 Chong as follows:

Offending Provision Sentence
Section 146(1) of the Act for knowingly live in part on the earnings of the prostitution of PW4 (DAC 904274/2014), 7 months’ imprisonment (Concurrent)
Section 140(1)(c) of the Act for procuring PW4 for the purpose of prostitution, and with intent to aid such purpose (DAC 904277/2014) 8 months’ imprisonment (Consecutive)
Section 140(1)(d) of the Act for harbouring PW4 knowing that she had been procured for the purpose of prostitution (DAC 904280/2014) 4 months’ imprisonment (Concurrent)
Section 147(2) of the Act of managing Zou Entertainment as a place of assignation (DAC 904283/2014) 4 months imprisonment (Consecutive)
Global Sentence: 12 months’ imprisonment

As for the three co-accused persons, for assisting B1 Chong to manage Zou Entertainment as a place of assignation, B2 Lam was sentenced to 6 weeks’ imprisonment, while B3 Sia and B4 Lim each received a sentence of 4 weeks’ imprisonment.

B1 Chong has filed an appeal against her conviction and sentence, while the Prosecution has filed an appeal against her sentence. No appeals have been filed against the convictions or sentences imposed on her co-accused persons.

I now give my detailed grounds of decision in respect of the conviction and sentence imposed on B1 Chong. I have also set out some details of the three co-accused persons’ cases, in so far as they are relevant for considering B1 Chong’s appeal.

Overview of the Case Agreed Facts

The Prosecution and both counsel agreed on certain facts which are set out in an Agreed Statement of Facts (“ASOF”). For the purposes of this appeal, I will highlight certain agreed facts that are more pertinent to B1 Chong’s case. B1 Chong, also known as “Zhang Mi Mi” or “Mi Mi Jie”, was the owner of Zou Entertainment from 21 April 2013 to 17 July 2013. She was also the person in charge of No. 28B Keong Saik Road from 21 April 2013 to 17 July 2013. PW4 is a national from the People’s Republic of China. She entered Singapore on 21 April 2013, and started work at Zou Entertainment from 21 April 2013 as a performing artiste. She resided at No. 28B Keong Saik Road from 21 April 2013 to 17 July 2013. The witness left Zou Entertainment on 17 July 2013. On 4 June 2013, PW4 was seen at the Department of Emergency Medicine, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), as evidenced by a SGH medical report on PW4. On 3 September 2013, B1 Chong and her co-accused persons were arrested at Zou Entertainment located at No. 28 Keong Saik Road, Singapore.

Outline of the Prosecution’s case against B1 Chong

The Prosecution called four witnesses to testify. Two of these witnesses are police officers. The first witness, Jason Tan (PW1), had allegedly been involved in a raid carried out at Zou Entertainment, while the second witness, Neo Kim Leng (PW2) is the investigating officer of the case. The third witness was PW3, a performance artiste who worked at Zou Entertainment, during which time she allegedly provided sexual services to a male patron of the lounge, one Philip. Finally, the fourth witness, PW4, was another performance artiste who was alleged to have provided sexual services to two customers of Zou Entertainment (Alan and Ah Pin). It is the Prosecution’s case that B1 Chong had managed Zou Entertainment as a place of assignation. She had also procured PW4 to engage in carnal connection with a male person (patron of Zou Entertainment), and had harboured PW4 for this purpose. In addition, B1 Chong was alleged to have knowingly lived in part on the earnings of PW4’s prostitution.

The main evidence against B1 Chong consisted of the testimonies of PW3 and PW4. For now, I will outline the main features of their evidence against B1 Chong, before elaborating on the relevant details, when discussing whether the elements of the individual charges have been made out. Their evidence can broadly be summarised as follows: B1 Chong, was the owner of a “flower garland” club, Zou Entertainment (previously known as Baobei). B1 Chong ran this club with the assistance of B2 Lam, B3 Sia and B4 Lim. This club engaged women from overseas as “performance artistes”. Two of these women were the Chinese nationals, PW3, and PW4, who were 23 years and 26 years old respectively at the time of the offences in 2013. Under the terms of their employment, the performance artistes were expected to work in the club every night, and also to sing and perform two or three “shows” over a six month period. For each show, they were expected to generate income of at least $2,000.00, essentially through the sales of “garlands” to customers of Zou Entertainment. These garlands are basically banners with different dollar values prominently printed on them. The customers would purchase these garlands to hang over the performance artistes. The price of these garlands could range from fifty dollars to thousands of dollars. The performance artistes themselves would not be paid any basic salary. Instead, they would receive a cut of the purchase price of the garlands. For sales of garlands up to $5000, the revenue would be split 50-50, while any portion above $5000 would be split in the proportion of 20% (to Zou Entertainment) and 80 % (to the performance artiste). Further, if any customer took a performance artiste out of the club during her working hours, he would also have to pay a booking out fee to Zou Entertainment, for which the performance artiste would also take a cut. From their earnings, the performance artistes would have to pay Zou Entertainment their room rental ($400 a month subsequently raised to $450 a month), levy (charged at $450 a month), and other expenses like fines imposed by the company, payments to waitress and administrative staff etc. Since the women engaged by Zou Entertainment did not receive any basic salary, the only way they could earn money from customers for themselves, and to pay Zou Entertainment, was to get the customers to spend money on them. However, it appears that the women engaged by Zou Entertainment (such as PW3 and PW4) were not “licensed” or known singers, and (like PW4) may not even have any singing experience. This could pose a challenge for them to get the customers to pay hefty sums for the garlands, or the high booking out fees ($100 or $200 per hour). It was under these circumstances that B1 Chong, as the owner and boss of Zou Entertainment, told the performance artistes such as PW4 and PW3 to offer to make love, and to sleep with customers (i.e. to engage in sexual intercourse) so as get these customers to pay large sums of money to Zou Entertainment. This was mainly through garland purchases and booking out fees, for which the performance artistes could take a cut. In this manner, the Prosecution alleged that B1 Chong knowingly managed Zou Entertainment (a place of public resort), as a place of assignation, with the assistance of her co-accused persons. In addition, B1 Chong, as the owner of Zou Entertainment, also used a combination of physical abuse and threats to dishonour PW4’s reputation, to cause PW4 to comply with B1 Chong’s demand that PW4 provide sexual services for money. PW4 eventually prostituted herself, against her will, to two customers of Zou Entertainment, Alan and Ah Pin, who made payments to Zou Entertainment in connection with the sexual services provided by PW4. B1 Chong subsequently received and lived off part of the earnings derived from the prostitution of PW4. Further, during the time that PW4 prostituted herself,...

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